Praise for Waiting for Godot in New Orleans
“Spellbinding” — Artforum
“An unforgettable example of ephemeral public art.” – The Nation
“An art project that had everything, or at least a lot: objects, words, images, ideas, emotions, discourse, actions, lessons, beauty, politics, criticality and generosity.” – The New York Times
“The most moving and meaningful ‘Godot’ we are ever likely to see.” – The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
In November 2007, artist Paul Chan collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and New York public arts group Creative Time to mount free performances of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot on the streets of New Orleans. Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleanians were still waiting for help to recover and rebuild. Godot rang with fierce immediacy, and thousands attended the play, which starred New Orleans native and television star Wendell Pierce (HBO's The Wire).
Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide, publishes for the first time the research materials, photographs, drawings, writings, and documents produced and gathered during the making of this multifaceted project, which included the free outdoor performances; theater workshops, educational seminars, conversations, and dinners; a Shadow Fund; and a short film.
Reflecting how the project was organized, the book is divided into eight chapters: Remember, Picture, Relate, Organize, Appear, Play, Film, Reflect. Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide is designed to introduce the key ideas, strategies, and histories that motivated the making of the project, in order to create an imaginative roadmap of how public art can respond to and reflect upon what it means to be a public today. It also features new essays and interviews from thinkers, writers, activists, artists, and community members involved in the project.
This enhanced e-book edition includes new audio compositions by Chan that accompanied the premiere of the Waiting for Godot in New Orleans archive at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in June 2010.
Waiting for Godot is one of my favorite plays. Its minimal staging and structure always left a lot to context, and i can't imagine a more uncanny place than New Orleans. This gorgeous ebook illuminates the complex choreography behind the scenes--the organizing of people and the building of allegiances necessary to enact even this most modest of plays in such a fragile and fraught place. The elegant design of the ebook echoes this sensitivity, but also carries a dense power in its exhaustive display of documents, notes, and ephemera.
What to do...
Listen, you know what, you already like this book. It’s good for all kinds of reasons. Chan is a wonderful artist and writer – he’ll get you right in there, right where you want to go… to the heart of the wasteland and he’ll make you feel a little bit of hope in the face of tragedy. It’s a strong project and it deserves all the praise it has won, but you know all this already… you already know that you’re about to click the ‘buy now’ button. Go ahead, you should do that, but forget about Paul Chan and Becket for a minute - here’s really why you should buy this book: it’s for the one short text by Kalamu ya Salaam titled “What to do with the Negroes?”
Who knew an ebook could look this good??
This is by far the most substantial and handsome ebook in my iPad library. Unlike 99% of other ebooks out there, waiting for Godot in NOLA is really a historical, practical, and aesthetic document, couched within an immersive, visually rich reading experience. It takes the form of a how-to guide, detailing firsthand the organization of the play, from conception to planning to staging. But more than that, the ebook gives a concrete sense of the wide matrix of people, research materials, and aesthetic decisions that reveal the project to be more than just the staging of beckett's legendary play, but an on the ground account of social and cultural immersion in an alien landscape.
For anyone who's been waiting for ebooks to be both substantive and gorgeous and finally look like they come from the 21st century, the wait is over!!